'Was focusing on my game'
From late 2012 till 2014, Mushfiqur Rahim was pretty much the face of Bangladesh cricket as the captain of all three formats. During that time, seeing Mushfiqur analysing a victory or defeat after a match or setting the scene before a game was a staple of covering Bangladesh cricket. However since Mashrafe Bin Mortaza took over the limited-overs reins, followed by Bangladesh taking a near 15-month break from Test cricket, the wicket-keeper batsman has been a rare feature in press conferences.
In fact, his last appearance in an official presser was after he scored a hundred against Zimbabwe in a Mirpur ODI in November 2015. That however was followed by a lean patch with the bat in the shorter forms, so his absence from the media glare coupled with his reputation as being an intense character led to speculation that he was purposely avoiding the media in tough times.
But in his first official media appearance, he started things off on a positive note as soon as the first question was asked with the title 'captain' being used.
"I am being addressed as captain after a long time, it is nice to hear," the diminutive Mushfiqur said with a smile.
When asked about his hiatus from the media, Mushfiqur sought to play it down as just a matter of circumstance and as a consequence of him concentrating on his game.
"This has been to focus my concentration on my game. I have a responsibility and I thought I should not think about other things, do my own work well and devote more time on and off the field to my game -- there is not much else to it besides that," said Mushfiqur. "And of course, for the last year or so there have been no Tests, so we have not met."
That of course led to the question of whether media interaction will now have a negative effect as he, now being the captain, will have to front up to the press even if there is work to do on his game and on the team.
"No, it will not have an effect. If you ask good questions I will give good answers and there will be no effect," he answered, perhaps revealing a little needle with the press. "If you ask unusual questions then maybe it will have an effect. Will try to perform well on the field as an individual and as a team so that you will not have the scope to ask erratic questions.
"I thought that [it would be better] if I focus on my job, because if I say this or that and am not able to back it up with actions... instead let me try to do first and then speak. Maybe the things I tried did not come off the way I planned. But thankfully the process I wanted while being away from the media, you were good enough to give me that. Maybe you saw it a different way, but I tried what I thought was good for me and the team."
A back-and-forth with a reporter who claimed to know from a source close to Mushfiqur that when he underperforms he becomes disconnected from the team revealed his not-always-unjustified ire towards the scribes.
"If I really become disconnected then that person you are talking about will not know what I feel. Everyone feels bad when they do badly, but I try not to let it affect others," said Mushfiqur to end an intriguing and long awaited press conference.